Viewpoints

Success stories amid challenges for homeless

  • perkins, nancy

    perkins, nancy

  • perkins, nancy

We have two success stories to relate this month about current guests at the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter. We have written before about these guests, their hopes for the future, their goals and plans. Now we can provide updates.

The first involves a single mother with three children, one of whom attends kindergarten part of each day, then is in daycare with the other two, also in daycare. Mother has resumed her LNA license and now has a part-time job at a local facility for seniors. She hopes to find an apartment in order to leave the shelter. Yes, a success story.

Another guest is a single mother with one child who is in daycare. During the summer, she was able to complete courses to qualify for her LNA license, and is currently working part-time at a senior facility. She is now enrolled in a nursing program, aiming for an RN degree which she is determined to achieve. Like the first guest, her ambition is admirable. We cheer her, too.

Meanwhile in the United States, poverty continues. Recently on the NBC Nightly News, there was a multi-part series entitled “People Living in Poverty.” Some facts gleaned from that program are as follows:

-- one in seven Americans are on food stamps.

-- more than 46 million Americans are living at or below the poverty level, including 16 million children.

-- the poverty level means single people who earn less than $11,945 per year, and a family of four living on less than $23,283 per year.

-- one quarter of those living in poverty have jobs but are not earning enough to provide for shelter, clothing, food and other essentials.

-- President Lyndon Johnson first focused on poverty in 1964, yet decades later there still are no over-arching solutions to end poverty. Programs which began under Johnson are: Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance.

-- many former middle-class people have slipped down the ladder, especially students living under the weight of huge school loans.

Nancy Perkins of Peterborough and Hope Pettegrew of Hancock are former board members but remain volunteers for MATS. MATS is a transitional shelter, not an emergency shelter. MATS collaborates with The River Center.

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